Dana Hayes-Burke started her professional career like most people do – working for someone else. She found that she rose quickly within the corporate world, but also felt like her life lacked meaning and she wasn’t fulfilling her purpose. While still working her day job, she decided to start DHB Vision Strategists, a business consultancy and coaching firm that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners scale up their operations. She does this by helping the decision-makers review and revise their business models so that they can increase their profits, streamline their operations and set the foundation for significant future growth. After one year of juggling both gigs, she was able to leave her day job and pursue her business full time. Today the Trinidad & Tobago-based entrepreneur is happy to be doing meaningful work that helps others, while also building a legacy for her family.
Hayes-Burke’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
What was your reason for starting your business?
I have always wanted to be in business but after university, I did what everyone did. I got a job and started a traditional career. The truth is at the beginning of my professional career I didn’t like the company that I worked for. But I advanced quickly. In less that 5 years I was at a supervisor level and in less than seven years I was a manager. Here’s what I discovered, however, at each stage of my advancement, my life looked less and less like what I wanted it to be. I didn’t have time flexibility. The level of stress was high. And most importantly, I knew that I was not fulfilling my purpose. So I went back to the drawing board – my vision. And I uncovered what I was passionate about and my values. I wanted a life where I have the freedom to be there for my family and future children. This reignited my passion for business and empowering others. I started my first business while working at this job and after twelve months, I transitioned full time into my business.
How do you define success?
Success means living a life of purpose and impact. In order to have done that, I have used my gifts, skills and influence to empower others to live their ideal life. I am designing and creating financial freedom and a legacy for my children. At the end of my life, I hope my legacy will have been the ability to help thousands of business that have been built by men and women who learned from me.
Tell us about your biggest success to date
My biggest success is the fact that there are presently businesses in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados, the US and the UK that are thriving because of skills they learned from my programs, books and resources.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
The biggest challenge for me is finding suppliers and persons to partner with who can help me bring my vision to life. Everyone may look great on their social media platform but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I have learned how to tap into my network for the right recommendations to accomplish the outcomes I have in mind. The people in my network already know me, so they are able to make more suitable referrals.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
In building anything, you tend to place your focus there more than anywhere else. During the time of the Pandemic, I wasn’t taking care of my body the way that I need to. As women we tend to care for ourselves last. When I recognized the problem, I took action. I am thankful for that.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your business started. Learn how to use the skills and talents you already have to get started.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I find my inspiration from my faith in God and my family.
Who is your most important role model?
I have several role models – on both a professional and personal level. On a professional level, my role model is Kristi Jackson-Mohammed of Women CEO Project. She has a very similar style to me and I like that she has built a million dollar businesses without compromising her value and worth.